Book Review: Heat Wave and Heat Rises (aka: Hey it’s those books from Castle!)

Combining review/reaction for books 1 and 3 of the Heat series, Heat Wave and Heat Rises.










Picked these up because:
1. The library in this town is reeeaaally tiny and there wasn’t anything else that grabbed my attention.
2. I’ve taken to binging on repeats of Castle several nights a week (thanks TNT!).
3. I wanted something in the ‘junk food’ category (read: nothing heavy or that I had to think too much about.
4. I was really behind on my Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge and wanted a couple quick books to help get caught up.

As any review of the Nikki Heat series will tell you, each book reads like a single episode of Castle. This means:
1. Female detective, male writer, murder, case.
2. Sidekick detective buddies.
3. Witty repartee.
4. Double entendres by the truck load.
5. Flirting.

The good:
1. If you like Castle (and you’re probably not reading these unless you do), you already know all the characters, their personalities, and the relationships that exist. This works because, well, it works on the show and you’re not for a moment thinking of Nikki and Rook, but Beckett and Castle.
2. The third book in the series, Heat Rises, was MUUUCCH better than the first. Not sure if they used a different ghostwriter for this book than the first or if the writing and editing has drastically improved, but it’s so much better.
3. It’s a run of the mill crime novel so there’s nothing completely unexpected or new here, but it’s a satisfying read on a snowy single-digit-temperature kind of night (like I had tonight).
4. Some ‘winks’ to the reader and fans of Castle and/or Nathan Fillion. Rook stating “I really am ruggedly handsome, aren’t I?” or saying that Rook looks like that guy from that outer space show, to which Rook responds “Malcolm Reynolds?”

The bad:
1. The first in the series, Heat Wave, was bad. I mean, come on. The cheese factor was insane. As someone who enjoys and respects a witty but smart playful banter, I like it on Castle. In Heat Wave…. Ease up! Not every single line of dialogue needs to have a bad pun or a play (also bad) on words or a suspect names.
2. The murder plot is forgettable. After reading Heat Rising, I barely remember was Heat Wave was about.
3. There is not a single description of any of the characters. Since you’re likely picturing all the Castle characters, you sort of overlook this. But let’s pretend that this really was a new series of novels by a fiction crime writer. You have to develop characters. You have to let your reader into the world you’re creating, that includes maybe a hint of description and some backstory. Maybe, just maybe?
4. Heat Rises was definitely an experiment, a clever marketing tool that they probably didn’t put a ton of time or effort into it because they weren’t sure it was going to work or not. I haven’t read the second in the series (it wasn’t available at the time I dropped in my teeny little library) but judging from the third book, things have improved after the first throwaway.

These books are what they’re supposed to be – easy, throwaway reads that entertain and meet their purpose of mass appeal to people that watch Castle but may not refer to themselves as big book people.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Heat Wave and Heat Rises (aka: Hey it’s those books from Castle!)

  1. sureasmel says:

    Always wondered if these would really be worth reading but figured they’d be disappointing and decided against it. Reading your thoughts, I think that was probably the right thing to do.

    • angiedet says:

      They’re definitely not something that’s a Must Read. Not even close. They do what they’re supposed to do – appeal to the fans of the show. Thanks for reading!

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